Sirota: Focus on wages for NC to adapt to “the future of work”

Empty asphalt road towards bright sun

How to ensure future prosperity in 4-steps

Raising wages and expanding opportunity for the masses – not the millionaires – is the way forward to a prosperous future for both working people and the economy in North Carolina.

Last week the Institute for Emerging Issues at N.C. State wrapped up a two-day conference in which speakers, thinkers, policymakers, and attendees brainstormed about “the future of work.”

Watch and share our cute, 2-minute video in which N.C. workers explain “good jobs” to a kid robot.

Much of the focus of the IEI Future Work conference focused on how automation and technology could disrupt the lives of working people – and, by extension, the health of our economy, which depends on us.

However, we won’t have to fear the robots if policymakers take steps now to focus on building a future with plenty of good jobs, paying family-sustaining wages and rewarding workers’ productivity, while investing in lifelong education and skill building – according to Alexandra Forter Sirota, Director of the N.C. Budget & Tax Center:

Despite the projections and well-intentioned guesses about what the future will bring, no one knows for sure what the outcome will be. What we do know, however, is that what we do today can support better economic outcomes for more families, businesses and communities in the state. Research is clear that wage growth and public policy will both be keys to ensuring that the future of work has the number and quality of jobs that can boost the economy for everyone.

If this sounds familiar, it should. North Carolina’s wage problem is front and center in the daily lives of workers and the communities where they live today. Without wages that ensure workers can provide for the basics and spend locally, employers fail to see the demand for goods and services that allow them to expand and communities are challenged to support the opportunities that build the long-term potential for children’s economic success as adults. North Carolina’s uneven recovery and elevated hardship today are indicators of what happens when policy doesn’t focus on wages or the ways in which all communities can connect to economic opportunity.

Happily, we have it within our power to ensure that workers have what one speaker described as the “capital” to meet their needs and make investments that support advancement of themselves, their families and build assets in their community. We know that workers with the ability to make ends meet and spend are what the economy needs to function well and expand.

That is why a focus on boosting wages and helping communities rather than on reducing the size of government is what is needed.

Read on to learn more about the 4-steps toward building a high-road economy of the future with opportunity for all: Policymakers must focus on wages if North Carolina is to adapt to “the future of work” – NC Policy Watch